Gingerbread Latte Cake [Or, Coffee-Cardamom Cake With Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting]

This impossibly fluffy cake gets its depth from both brewed coffee and espresso powder. We sprinkle in molasses and cardamom for character. Once the layers cool, they are swathed in ethereally smooth gingerbread-spiced cream cheese frosting. We end up with a gloriously inventive cake for the season, inspired by the familiar coffee favorite. Just in time for Christmas. Mmmm.

Gingerbread Latte Cake

Coffee-Cardamom Layer Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp molasses
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup strong coffee, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk

Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting:
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch allspice
6-7 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and molasses until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating in between. Beat in vanilla. Beat in coffee. Add dry ingredients in halves, alternating with the milk, until just combined. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake until tester comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool five minutes in pan before turning out on cooling rack to cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter until fluffy. Beat in molasses. Beat in spices. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, scraping down the bowl in between, until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Once cake is completely cooled, transfer first cake layer to cake stand to frost. Top the cake layer with about 1 heaping cup of frosting and gently spread to the edge. Place second layer on top, dolloping frosting into the center and repeating (note: I prefer not to frost the sides of the cake, but you can, if you prefer). Cover and let sit up to three hours before serving.

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